Saturday, March 14, 2009

What My Enisi Told Me

Enisi is the Cherokee word for Paternal Grandmother. I had brought my second fiance to her home to introduce him, and to show her my 4 carat diamond engagement ring. Enisi and I went for a walk while my fiance was left to the tender mercies of my mother. I broke up with him shortly thereafter and it was the best decision I ever made! This is the story my Enisi told me while we were walking:


THE GREAT MOTHER’S TEARS

Long, long ago, in the time before humans, the Equa Unitsi (Great Mother) sent the Water Beetle out from behind the rainbow where they lived to bring up a dab of mud from under the water with which She had covered the world. Equa Unitsi wanted a green and beautiful place to walk, so when Water Beetle gave her the mud Great Mother dropped pieces of it on the water and it became land. However, it was very flat land and She did not care for that. So, She sent Raven down to flap his wings; when his wings went down, that made the valleys and when they went up, that made the mountains. Now she had mountains and flat land to walk upon and She was pleased. She sent the animal people and the tree people out from behind the rainbow to live upon Elohi (earth) and each picked the place that suited them best to live.

One day while Equa Unitsi was walking, She thought to Herself, “I would like an Ustiulv (little sister) to walk with me. So She took a bit of the earth, added a bit of song from each of the stars, winds, waters, trees and animals, and mixed them all together. She waited for a night when Svnoyiehinvdo (the Moon) was full and then set the mixture She had made on top of the highest mountain and brought the light of Svnoyiehinvdo into it. She said some magic words and Igvyi Agiya (First Woman) rose up from the mix of the stars’, winds’, waters’, trees’ and animals’ songs and the light of Svnoyiehinvdo. Equa Unitsi was happy with her little sister for a companion, and they walked far over the earth. Great Mother introduced First Woman to all of the animals and trees and they became First Woman’s little sisters and brothers.

All lived in harmony. The air and the water nourished them, and the trees gave them shelter and Equa Unitsi was well pleased.

Then, one day Equa Unitsi looked out from behind the rainbow and saw all the animals having babies. But Her little sister, First Woman, had no babies. Equa Unitsi thought to Herself, I will make a companion for her! So she took a bit of mud, a bit of the song of fire, and set the mixture out in the sun. But before she could say the magic words, Coyote came along, grabbed up the mix in his mouth, and ran away with it. While Coyote was running, he accidentally dropped it into a little pool of blood from a deer that had scraped its leg on a rock. Before Equa Unitsi could do anything, Igvyi Asgayv (First Man) rose up from the mix of mud, fire and blood. He immediately turned to the deer and killed it, roasted it over the fire and ate it.

The Great Mother was filled with sorrow. She could see that Igvyi Asgayv was not the companion she had envisioned for First Woman, but she was too kind hearted to kill him, or to punish Coyote for his part in the making of First Man.

Equa Unitsi knew that the days of peace, with every living being existing in harmony, were gone. She knew that some humans would have more of the traits of First Woman, but some would have more of the traits of First Man; blood thirsty, violent, power hungry.

She wept bitter tears that fell through the rainbow and turned into shiny, sparkling stones of many different colors when they touched the earth. They are reminders to the daughters of Little Sister, and all their daughters’ daughters through all time, never to look for lasting happiness or peace from the true descendants of First Man.

5 comments:

  1. Oddly enough, I'm just now writing about a (part) Cherokee grandmother telling her granddaughter Cherokee stories.

    I have no Indian blood so far as I know but am lucky to live only a little more than an hour away from the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

    And what is that beautiful gemstone?

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  2. It's ruby in fushite. Fushite is the matrix in which ruby grows. It's surprisingly inexpensive if you buy it at a rock and gem show.

    My father, and his entire family, is from the Eastern Band of Cherokee. My great-grandfather walked the Trail of Tears, carrying the body of his 7 month old baby sister for part of the way. They hated Oklahoma, so they made their way back to the North Carolina mountains, where they had to live as fugitives on land that once belonged to them. My grandfather told me that great-grandfather made a good living selling moonshine to white men, ha ha!

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  3. Oh, I forgot to ask...are you working on the Miss Birdie book? Hurry, hurry, hurry! :D

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  4. Doing the rewrite as commanded by Herself, my editor. There's a bit about the Trail of Tears in it and John Goingsnake and his little baby who ran away and hid with the Yunwi Tsundi.

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  5. Great! I can't wait until I can read it!

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